Media Campaign vs. Story Placement


By Mark Macias

I frequently meet with tech startups who ask me, “why can’t I do PR on my own?” Many of these smart entrepreneurs tell me they already have great contacts in the media, so why should they hire a PR firm?

Many people wrongly believe securing a story in the news or on TV has everything to do with who you know. Yes – a contact will help but it’s more like an assist. It’s not a slam dunk. I’ve written about that misconception extensively in the past, so I won’t go in-depth here, but there is another PR lesson that the picture (above) better explains. During my time as an Executive Producer with NBC, many publicists tried to woo me with drinks or dinner, thinking it would lead to a story on TV. You can be married to the Executive Producer, but if you don’t have a strong narrative or interesting story to tell, your startup or business won’t get publicity.

I’m not a gemologist, but I know a rock doesn’t transform on its own into a beautiful diamond. It takes time, precision, perfect cuts and polishing to present the diamond in a way that we expect. It’s no different with a story idea – or for that matter – contacts. It doesn’t turn on its own into publicity. It takes the refining of an idea that develops it into a news story. It also takes a craft to develop the pitch in a way that gets reporters’ attention. That requires proper execution. You can write the best media pitch, but if you send it to the wrong reporter, you will fail. It gets even more complicated when you are actually designing and executing a full-scale media campaign.

So if you’re considering doing PR on your own, I will tell you, of course you can do it. The better question to ask is how long will it take to succeed and how many hours will it require?

Macias PR was named the 2015 top “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” by Finance Monthly. The firm was founded by Mark Macias – a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. Macias is a weekly contributor with and author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, which has been featured in the NY Times, Fox Business, NY Post and others. Macias PR has run media campaigns for tech startups, financial groups, service providers, nonprofits and politicians.

Your Image with Crisis PR

By Mark Macias

It’s not what you say, but you do that is remembered by others, yet surprisingly few people remember this during a crisis situation.

Sociology studies show body language makes up 55 percent of our communications and when it’s replayed on TV, it becomes even more pronounced.

The former Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, seemed to forget this during his crisis that forced him out of office.

For those who don’t remember, he was accused of trying to sell President Barack Obama’s old US Senate seat.

But the crisis visual got worse when the cameras were rolling and decided to go for a job, knowing full-well that the media wanted to ask him questions.

He put on his running shoes, left his home, and a throng of reporters pursued him while he ran away from them. He apparently didn’t think ahead into what this image would say to viewers watching the news.

Television needs a visual to support the story, otherwise it’s just radio.

TV reporters always new video to advance the day’s story.

Blagojevich gave reporters their new visual that kept him in the news cycle. In addition, he gave TV reporters video they could write to.

If you are ever ambushed by a reporter, don’t run from the camera or put your hand in front of it. That will only make you look guilty.

Instead, be polite the reporter and explain why you will speak with the reporter if he or she takes the time to call your office.

As a former investigative producer with American Journal, CBS and NBC, I can tell you reporters love the ambush interview because it makes for great TV. Viewers stay tuned when they see a clip showing a person running from the camera – and believe it or not, they like it when you push their camera away.

So next time you are in a crisis mode, don’t let your image take a back seat to kindness. The camera will thank you for it.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC and Senior Producer with WCBS. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.